Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways and Shipping Shri Nitin Gadkari has called upon stakeholders to make conscious and active use of innovations and successful best practices from round the world in engineering and construction of roads. He said that the road transport sector in the country has immense potential, given the high traffic density and adequate availability of resources. However, this potential cannot be realized fully unless every player in the chain of execution has a positive attitude and is ready to give up outdated practices in favour of new and efficient ones. The Minister was speaking at the Highways Sector Stakeholders Meet in New Delhi today. The meet was attended by officials of the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, and NHIDCL, besides contractors, consultants, bankers and material suppliers concerned with road construction.
Shri Gadkari further said that his Ministry had brought in many policy changes to streamline procedures and ease out road blocks like land acquisition, environment clearances and paucity of funds. Technological initiatives have also been brought in like satellite based road asset management system, use of concrete for road construction, electronic toll collection, INAMPRO other IT initiatives. All these are aimed at making the road building procedure faster, more transparent and more efficient, and all officials and other stakeholders should make maximum use of the innovations relevant to their areas of operation. Shri Gadkari also articulated his intent to build a strong system of performance audit and accountability.Gadkari also launched ePACE, INFRACON and an updated version of INAMPRO, three innovative IT initiatives of the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, developed in house by NHIDCL( National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd.)
ePACE (Projects Appraisal & Continuing Enhancements) is an online integrated Management Information System that brings projects from all wings of the Ministry under a common platform, ensuring their effective and real time tracking. More than 2000 projects being executed by multiple agencies are currently listed on the portal and it is possible to get any information about their real time status, fund utilization etc. The portal can be freely accessed by anybody, and information regarding projects in any particular state can be found at the click of a button. The portal also allows for validation checks to prevent wrongful entries, making it difficult to fudge figures. It has provision to obtain reports in multiple formats with graphical interface for round the clock monitoring. It has also been provided with GIS interface to enable easy geo-tracking of the projects. The application has a data export engine for feeding into other applications. The architecture of the application is scalable and customizable. ePACE as a platform is amenable to be used for monitoring projects pertaining to any ministry in the country and can improve governance of such projects.
INFRACON is the National Portal for Infrastructure Consultancy Firms and Key Personnel. This portal acts as a kind of bridge between consultancy firms working in the road engineering and construction sector and domain experts and key personnel who are deployed both for project preparation and supervision. The portal hosts the credentials of consultancy firms and key personnel and has linkages to Aadhar and Digi-locker for data validation and purity. 474 consultancy firms and 2387 key personnel under various categories are already registered with the portal. In addition to this, agencies within the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, like the NHIDCL can receive technical proposals through INFRACON. This leads to a significant reduction of paper work during bid submissions and also brings in a lot of transparency and speed since the evaluation of technical bids can be done at the click of a button.
INAM PRO has been developed as a web-based application (www.inampro.nic.in) for Infrastructure and Material Providers. It is a kind of a web based market place that brings together the material providers and the prospective buyers on a common platform. The platform was launched in March 2015 to facilitate contractors and cement buyers engaged in executing central/state funded roads and highways and bridge construction projects to place cement orders online with the registered cement companies offering cement at competitive rates in the vicinity of project execution locations. Cement companies are facilitated to update their offered stocks and the prices on the portal. They in turn get instant intimation about the orders placed and are able to approve the delivery schedules as requested by the cement buyers without hassles and delays.
This is helping cement companies plan their annual production in advance and schedule deliveries with better precision. Cement companies also have the facility to increase the cement stock offerings based on market demand and reduce prices to attract more buyers. In addition, using INAM Pro, companies are able to track orders, add more products , add cement offerings, view listed buyers, and submit their complaints or suggestions to Ministry. Similarly, buyers are able to view and track the orders placed with different companies and also submit their suggestions or complaints. With the help of INAM Pro, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways is able to track and monitor the activities of buyers and suppliers, and remove impediments of both the parties Given the success of INAM-PRO, other materials like steel and steel slag have also been brought on this platform so as to make this as a comprehensive e-market place for infrastructure providers. The Minister also released the IT Task Force Report on the occasion. The report has suggested many innovative ways in which IT can be used to make the working of the transport sector more efficient and transparent.